I like to use them on my cards, and I like to have a variety of styles and colors ready to go when I need them. Like most of my handmade embellishments, I don't like to stop and make them while I'm on a roll making a card. Instead, I make up many of my embellishments in advance (or in the case of flowers, I make up the pieces/layers and assemble them to match the project later). And, I like to be able to see them quickly and easily. So a small, traditional "tomato" pin cushion isn't the best storage solution for my needs - it's not quite a large enough surface area to be able to see all the different colors/styles of the handmade pins. I need a stationary base that can stand on its own, and is larger than most pre-made cushions.
I have purchased a couple small and beautiful pin cushions from Etsy sellers, but they're hanging pin cushions, and to be honest, they're just so darn pretty I don't want to cover them with more pins! I have them hanging in my craft room as decoration - like I said...they're just so darn pretty.
There are so many creative ways to make pin cushions, and I remember one day I spent several hours just admiring all the creative ways people had come up with to store their pins. I started searching locally for the one item that would strike my fancy to use for my base. I cruised craft stores, local thrift stores, local dollar stores, and a couple passes through the local antique store for something unique and fun. Still I haven't found the "perfect" item, but I needed to do something for storage soon. So I went back to one of the local craft stores for a "distressed" ceramic sugar bowl that I remembered would give me the right amount of free, visible space for the pins, and I was set to start. The best part? It was now 50% off...yay for my procrastination!
I pulled out some trinkets from an old (1990's???) bulky, gem-filled key chain that was sitting in my "stash box", some lace and Prima flowers, Hug Snug bows, a little bit of white acrylic paint, a scrap piece of upholstery fabric, polyester and cotton batting, glue gun and 3-4 glue sticks, and set to work.
You can find many links all over the net for detailed pin cushion how-to's. I didn't use one set of instructions in particular, just went by what felt like it would work at the moment. So rather than bore you with step-by-step instructions that so many others before me have done so well, I'll just go over some tips that I found while making this one up.
The diameter of the cushion itself is 4-1/2", and the bowl stands about 4"H...the cushion adds another 1-1/4" above the top of the bowl edges at its highest point.
So here are my hints, based on my experience with this bowl:
- Have LOTS of glue sticks ready to go. And if you can, use a mid-temp or high-temp glue gun for heavier fabrics and battings. Mine is a mid-temp gun, but I still found I had to use a LOT of glue to make sure the cushion stayed secured to the bottom of the bowl. I went through four 4"long glue sticks (1/2" diameter).
- I remembered seeing several sites mention that using cotton batting instead of polyester would give you a firmer cushion. When I shopped locally, the cotton batting I found was in sheets or rolls, not loose in a bag as polyester batting usually comes. I went with a 50/50 (half cotton/half poly) sheet (because the price was 1/2 of the pure cotton batting...LOL). However, I found that when I scrunched pieces of the cotton batting up into a semi-round shape, it was TOO firm for the pins to go into. This could be because the pin bases I use are corsage pins, and perhaps they're not as finely sharpened as tailoring/sewing pins, but it was too firm for my use.
So, I tightly packed up a ball of the polyester batting to a size slightly smaller than I wanted to fit inside the bowl, then laid 2 layers of the cotton batting over the ball of polyester batting. Then I put my fabric over that...and it works perfectly. It's firm enough for the pins to stand upright, and the pins easily slide into the cushion.
- I found there was no difference whether I decorated the sides of the bowl first or made and glued the cushion first -perhaps only because of the type of bowl I used. (Except, of course, I had to glue/secure the pin cushion into the bowl before gluing on the white and gold braid around the edge.)
- Because the bowl was heavy and stable enough to stand on its own with added weight on top, I didn't need to glue any glass marbles or weights in the bottom of the bowl before gluing in the cushion. If I'd used a lighter weight bowl or even something as light as a vintage baby shoe, I would have glued in weights under the cushion.
Now it's time to get back to making cards...thank you for stopping by!